Pablo Fornals on loving life at West Ham United, his pride at representing Spain and causing problems for Everton
Pablo Fornals has already made his mark on the 2021/22 season.
West Ham United's popular attacking midfielder kicked-off the campaign with goals and assists in each of the Hammers' opening three Premier League matches, and has played all but 15 minutes of the Irons' opening seven games.
Fornals also featured in West Ham's victories over Dinamo Zagreb and Rapid Vienna in the UEFA Europa League, while his fine form also led to a recall to the Spain squad after a three-year absence.
Unsurprisingly, the 25-year-old also made his mark at international level, assisting a goal within two minutes of his return in a FIFA World Cup qualifying victory over Georgia, then scoring another in an away win in Kosovo, before making a substitute appearance in his country's UEFA Nations League final defeat by France.
Fornals returned to Rush Green this week to prepare for Sunday's Premier League fixture at Everton, which begins a run of seven matches in 22 days in three competitions, and told Premier League Productions he wants to keep on producing the goods for club and country.
I love this team. I am happy to come to work every day and enjoy my life with this group of people, so I am very happy I get to do this every day
"I think I started really well, but obviously my mind is to never stop working for the team and helping everyone, so this is what I want to keep doing," he observed.
"We are in a good way and fighting everywhere so I think this is the most important thing. We are a big squad with a lot of players and everyone is having chances to show how he is, so this is the best way to keep everyone involved because there are a lot of games and we're going to need everyone to help.
"I'm really happy here. I always say the same. My environment is happy here, I love the team, the supporters are happy not just with me but with everyone because we are in a great moment.
"I love this team. I am happy to come to work every day and enjoy my life with this group of people, so I am very happy I get to do this every day."
Fornals' personality, character, commitment and humour make him easy to like, and those traits, along with his valuable all-round abilities, have made him one of the first names on David Moyes' teamsheet over the past 18 months.
And those same traits also led to a call from Spain manager Luis Enrique - who displayed similar characteristics during his own playing days with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Spain in the 1990s and early 2000s - and a memorable, if fleeting, appearance in the Nations League final in Milan earlier this month.
For the West Ham player, who was cheered on at the San Siro stadium by his fiancee Tania and is part of a close-knit family from the city of Castellón de la Plana, it was a moment for him and his loved ones to cherish.
"It was unbelievable [to play in the Nations League final]. I'm really happy, obviously not 100 per cent happy because we didn't get the gold medal, but for me and for my family it was a massive moment.
"For a normal boy from a small city in Spain, who as a child grew up at home looking for his new life, getting called for the Spain national team, which is one of the best football nations in the world, and getting some minutes in the final, for me and for my people it was a massive moment.
"We had nine players on international duty, but it should be more, 100 per cent. Everyone is doing things now to receive a call from their countries. We have really good players and we are in a good moment, so why can't we all be called by our countries."
Fornals will hope to receive another call-up from Luis Enrique for Spain's vital final qualifiers against Greece and Sweden in November - Spain sit second in their group, two points behind Sweden and four ahead of Greece - but for now his focus is on West Ham and Sunday's Premier League trip to Goodison Park.
"I think Everton made some really good signings - Andros Townsend is playing really well, and Demarai Gray as well - and I think are a good team," he observed. "Positionally and tactically they are really good, but we want to get the three points.
"We can cause problems for them like we cause problems for everyone, by pushing, never stopping running and trying to smash the game from the start until the end. That's what we are right now and that's our way to play and how to make our fans happy."